Category Archives: itty bites

norwegian cinnamon + cardamom buns

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He gives it his thumb of approval.

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It was one of those cozy, cloudy, rainy spring days.  The kind that makes me want to do nothing but bake up something warm and sweet.  What better than cinnamon buns?  And Norwegian ones at that?

I have two favorite cinnamon bun recipes…I couldn’t decide which one to use, so I did a mash up of them both.  Here is my version of Norwegian Cinnamon Buns, based on Nigella Lawson’s recipe from her book, How to Be a Domestic Goddess, and this one from Tessa Kiros, author of Apples for Jam and Falling Cloudberries.  I love Kiros’ addition of cardamom, such a Scandinavian flavor that brings back memories of my grandparents for me.

Norwegian Cinnamon and Cardamom Buns

for the dough:

  • 5 cups white flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 3 tablespoons yeast (yes, really!  3 TABLESPOONS.)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 2/3 cups milk
  • 2 eggs

for the filling:

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar {plus additional for sprinkling over buns, optional}
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

for the glaze:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • a few spoonfuls of sugar {for sparkle effect, it’s a good thing}

OR…you can do this frosting instead of the sprinkled sugar glaze if you’re craving something extra sweet and sticky:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract {or vanilla, but almond is better in this particular recipe}

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cardamom, and yeast in a large bowl {that’s right, you don’t need to dissolve the yeast first! I know, it’s completely insane but it works, trust me!}. Melt the butter and whisk it into the milk and eggs, then stir it into the flour mixture.  Mix to combine and then knead the dough either by hand or using the dough hook of an electric mixer until it’s smooth and springy.  Add a little additional flour if the dough is too sticky.  Form into a ball, place in an oiled bowl {I usually use the one I mixed the dough in, just so I don’t have so many dishes to wash}, cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel, and leave it to rise for about 25 minutes.  I’ve heard that a slightly warm clothes dryer is a great place to let bread dough rise…I’m going to try it next time!

While the dough is rising, mix together all the filling ingredients.

Take half of the dough and roll it on a lightly floured surface into a 20×10 inch rectangle. Spread the dough with half of the filling mixture, doing your best to cover it entirely.  Roll it up from the longest side.  Now, grab your sharpest knife or a pizza cutter, and get ready to cut your dough into buns.  You can just do the traditional, slice, slice, slice straight across, but if you want to up the wow factor here is what you do.  Imagine you are cutting the letter ‘V’ right side up, then upside down, all across your rolled up dough.  The point of your ‘V’ should be about 3/4-inch across, and the base of it should be about 2 inches across. Does that make sense?  See the photo above if I’m not making sense, which most likely I’m not.

Great work!  Now do the exact same thing with the other half of your dough and filling.

Place a sheet of parchment paper over a cookie sheet, or grease the pan if you don’t have parchment paper around.  Take all those little ‘V’ shaped pieces of pudgy dough and sit them on their fat bottoms into the pan.  So it will look somewhat like an upside-down ‘V’.  Now press your thumb down into the center of each one until you almost reach the pan, but be careful not to break a hole through the bottom of your dough.  Along the sides you will see the cinnamon stripes peeking up and outward.  Leave a little bit of space between each one to allow room to rise while they bake.  Brush them with the beaten egg {and sprinkle with sugar if you’d like} and then let them rise again for about 15 minutes.

Put into the hot oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.  They should have risen and turned a golden brown.  If you are using the frosting, allow the buns to cool slightly before drizzling it over the tops.  Enjoy warm with an ice cold glass of milk.

Makes about 24.

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peach sandwich

peach sandwich

From Unplugged Kitchen by Viana La Place.

From Unplugged Kitchen by Viana La Place.

A peach tree will be a welcome addition to our backyard in the near future, but until that tree is planted and starts growing my favorite fruit, I am thankful for generous friends who share with me!  Is there anything better than a warm, sweet-smelling, juicy peach fresh from the tree?  I think not.

I found this book, Unplugged Kitchen by Viana La Place when my soon-to-be-fourteen-year-old was just a baby, and I was getting into cooking for the first time in my life.  Browsing the aisles of a small bookstore, this one seemed to jump into my hands and I knew I had to take it home with me so I could read all the stories behind the recipes and admire the pretty photographs.  I believe this book is out of print now, but if you love cookbooks like I do, snap this one up if you can get your hands on a copy. The artist in me appreciates the graphic design of the book, the wanna-be world traveler in me enjoys exploring the Italian countryside through the text, and the food-lover in me wants to try every recipe!  It’s a well-loved part of my kitchen, now with a slightly rippled cover from a spilled glass of water, torn paper bookmarks scattered throughout its pages, and an accidental smattering of watercolor paint along its spine.

Little did I know when I bought it, that inside I would discover a little treasure called “peach sandwich.”  Peach sandwich? Why hadn’t I thought of that before?  I had to try it as soon as possible.  I’m pretty sure I had a peach sandwich every day for breakfast that summer.  Here’s the recipe for you while peach season is still in full swing!

Peach Sandwich

  • 2 slices sturdy rustic bread
  • a little butter
  • 1 ripe, fragrant peach, sliced (peeling is optional)
  • sugar to taste

Toast the bread slices, and, while warm, lightly spread with butter.  Arrange peach slices on 1 slice of bread and sprinkle with desired amount of sugar.  Cover with the other bread slice and very gently press down to bind.peach sandwichunplugged kitchen

avocado + corn + tomato salad

avocado corn salad

I love to put together something quick and healthy for lunch.  It doesn’t always happen, but I saw something similar to this salad on Instagram, and I couldn’t wait to try it.  I happened to have everything on hand so it was my lucky day!

Here’s how to make it, although this isn’t an exact recipe…it’s more like a little-of-this-and-that kind of thing.

Slice the corn off of a cooked cob (mine was leftover and cold from the fridge), dice one tomato, and chop half of an avocado.  Toss those three ingredients together in a bowl.  Top with a few walnut pieces, torn fresh basil leaves, and some fresh mozzarella.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar, and sprinkle over some s+p.  Now you can enjoy yourself a nice little lunch!

chocolate chip cookies

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Who needs Photobooth when you have a shiny mixing bowl?

Who needs Photobooth when you have a shiny mixing bowl?

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My dessert binder is bursting at the seams...I have a serious recipe addiction.

My dessert binder is bursting at the seams…

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A beautiful day with nothing on the calendar…what to do??

First a little backyard picnic (at Olivia’s request), followed by a big batch of our favorite chocolate chip cookies, that’s what!  We cranked up some seriously fun, non-Disney kid tunes (try Elizabeth Mitchell radio on Pandora) and got mixing butter, sugar and eggs like nobody’s business.  The kids discovered their funny faces reflected in my mixing bowl, and to me, that was just as great as eating the cookies (warm with a glass of milk, of course).

This recipe makes A LOT, so I sometimes freeze the dough in spoonful-sized balls for baking later.  But honestly, with five kids plus neighbor friends constantly running through my kitchen, six dozen cookies don’t last that long!

Heather’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 c. butter
  • 1 1/2 c. white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 5 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2-3 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, or use non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, and stir into the creamed mixture until well blended.  Finally, stir in the chocolate chips.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes about 6 dozen.

 

 

 

we {heart} cookies

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Patty Davis’ Sugar Cookies (our favorite recipe)

1 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
3 Tbsp. cold water
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 c. flour

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, water, and vanilla and mix well.  In a separate bowl, sift the salt, baking soda, and flour together, then add to the butter mixture.  Roll dough into a disc between sheets of parchment paper and place in a large ziplock bag.  Chill in fridge for a few hours at least.  Roll out thin and cut shapes.  Bake at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack and spread with frosting.

frosting:

2 1/4 c. powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
2 tsp. butter
food coloring (optional)

Mix all together, adding powdered sugar gradually.